Brexit – A shock referendum result, political turmoil, plummeting pound and stock market volatility, it is the dawn of a new era – rise of the pragmatist.
Following the shock Brexit result, the biggest difficulty is not knowing how long it will last and what the long term outcome will be. So, many business owners will be wondering how to prepare for what they don’t know lies ahead.
Uncertain markets call for extra diligence in all of our businesses’ operations and of course, one of those key operations is marketing and communications. Not simply how we can market ourselves, but how we communicate the appropriate message to clients and prospects. Uncertain markets also throw up unexpected opportunities.
There is no absolute right or wrong here as all businesses use a different mix of marketing communications to speak to their clients, but hopefully the following pointers will at least help you prioritise certain elements within your marketing strategy.
1) Stick to your core values
Brexit doesn’t mean you have to change. You’ve probably taken years to get where you are and your clients stick with you for a reason. Whether that’s the quality of your product, your service, the ingredients or all of the above. Anything you do that has a negative impact, will not get past your clients. So maintain consistency of your standards and don’t give clients a reason to look elsewhere. If you’re not entirely sure what those values are and why your clients set you apart, now is a good time to bring in a third party for a brand workshop.
2) Keep in touch with your clients
Before you go looking for new clients, go and talk to your existing ones. Be honest with them, work with them, see if they have opportunities for you in other areas, but ignore them at your peril. It’s much harder to find a new client than to retain one.
3) Don’t slash your prices
A shock like Brexit can cause panic. If you’re losing turnover it can be easy to slash your prices to win back market share. In this scenario you are effectively ‘buying business’. This is not sustainable as it not only can have short term effects on your profitability, but makes it harder to increase fees in the future. Instead, look to see what your real value proposition is. Look at how your customers feel about your brand, and communicate with them effectively to reinforce what’s great about your business. Another opportunity to run a workshop around your brand and understanding your true uniqueness.
4) Build your brand creatively
This is something you should have front of mind at all times, but it is evermore important during challenging times. It is inevitable that some people will cut budgets and make less noise. This presents a perfect opportunity for the brave ones to amplify their presence, use creativity in their messaging and acquire new clients in the process. Look at the whole marketing mix. Ensure that all avenues used to communicate with clients are on message and consistent.
5) Keep your team informed and motivated
If you’re feeling uncertain about the future, chances are, they are too. This is the time to dig deep, to motivate, inspire and lead them to great things. Much easier to sell when you’re confident and motivated. A well executed internal comms programme could help.
6) Rewrite the plan
If budgets are being cut, then remember you wrote your marketing plan with another budget in mind. So if you have to take a knock to your budget, don’t simply spread it across your spend or knock one large piece on the head, this may not be right. Your market is different now, new opportunities exist and others have gone by the wayside, so rewrite the plan and make sure you’ve factored in the new opportunities and worked out how to realise them.
7) Be prepared for lift off
Remember, we’re not in a recession, we’re not even in a downturn. A quick resolution to the Brexit situation and a clear understanding of the long term effects could reinvigorate the economy overnight. Spending will rise and more opportunities will come, so be prepared to take advantage.
8) Don’t panic!
Keep a level head and a broad mind. If you focus on only one issue, chances are your concerns will become self-fulfilling. Remember to keep on top of your comms and ensure you’re communicating and advising your clients regularly.
At Journey, we help our clients understand who they are, what they’re about and how to talk to their audience. Whether it’s top line messaging through to a deep rooted set of values we can help with identifying your ‘Je ne sais quoi’ and take it right through to delivery whether in print, digital and beyond.
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